Launching Large – Part 2 of 3

4)    Have a good Sunday service. 

For us, Sunday morning is the front door.  The only time that we acted like a “big” church was on Sunday morning.  Every church plant cuts corners…decide in advance what corners to cut.  We don’t cut corners on Sunday morning.  When we got people there via personal invitations and our marketing efforts, our Sunday morning experience didn’t disappoint.

In our short history, people have asked when we’re going to start a women’s ministry, VBS, motorcycle ministry.  Some have offered to lead these things…we still say no.   There’s already a big church in town that does a Fall Festival.  It wouldn’t be good stewardship for us to go and do what someone else already does.   We focus hard on making Sunday morning count.  We want the service to be good, even if that means some other aspect of our church has to be bad.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.” – Proverbs 13:12

A quality service will inspire people.  It will make them proud to invite their friends.  If your people are just hoping for the day when your church plant will have something good, then they will burn out.  When they see the vision and the dream on Sunday morning, they are going to be excited and invite their friends.

Some people say don’t small groups for one year.  Some start small groups before the public launch.  There’s probably no right way, but I do know this…you need to have a good, quality worship service no matter what.

Spend money on Sunday.  And that includes your kids environments.  I’d put just as much money and energy and creativity there as you do in your adult service.

I may be wrong and I may be prideful, but sometimes, I think people talk about how bad big churches are to give themselves an excuse to be small. 

We didn’t break new ground in launching this church.  Everything we did has probably been done before.  But I do think we have a good Sunday morning service.  I work really, really hard on the details.  I work really, really hard on my message.  I don’t download it from yahoo or pastors.com. 

5)    You’re starting a business

Is it wrong to run a church like a business?  I don’t know about your church, but we’re actually a 501c3 corporation.  We have a bank account.  We buy things and pay people.  That sounds like a lot of business to me.   Listen…the church is not JUST a business, but it is a business.

In addition to reading Marketing books, I would recommend that you read some business books.  The E-Myth is a great one to start with.

“Don’t try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn’t know about it.”  – Proverbs 24:12. A lot of churches make dumb business moves and then claim that they didn’t know the rules.  You need to know the tax laws, the postal mailing regulations, and somebody on your lead team needs to have a business mind.

I think seminaries ought to teach some business and marketing classes to go along with all that useless stuff they tried to teach me.

6)    Work hard. 

“Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23

“If you are too lazy to plow in the right season, you will have no food at the harvest.” – Proverbs 20:4

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5

If you are a lead pastor, no one will have as big a vision as you do.  You’re going to work harder than anyone else on your team, and do the things that other people won’t do.  You have to get it done.  That may mean some late nights and some Saturday afternoons.  It may mean you set up stages and roll up cords.  Just because so-and-so at the mega church doesn’t do it doesn’t mean you don’t have to.  Most of the time, they did all that stuff in the early days.  There’s a lot of books out there on delegating and playing to your strengths, but in the early days, you’re going to work hard.  If you’re Brittish, you’re going to work your arse off.

As the lead pastor of Oak Leaf, I get to the theater at 6 AM with our setup team.  I ask our staff to do the same thing.  We’re asking people with jobs and families to make that sacrifice…I think we should too.  Starting a church and working at a church plant is not a cush ministry job.  At least not at Oak Leaf.

I don’t think I could have done this with a real job on the side.   I don’t have any verse to back this up, but I focused everything on this church. If I had to substitute teach or work at Home Depot, I would not have been able to put the proper amount of energy into launching large.  I think we would have less people and less leverage now.

I am not a fan of bi-vocational church planting.  I would recommend that you get 6 jobs and save some money, so that when it’s time to pull the trigger, you can devote all your attention and resources to launching the church.

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